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Capillary action/water transferring

Postby goshock1980 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:07 pm

My 3rd grade daughter is just starting out her science fair project.

Here is her question: Do different solutions affect capillary action?

As she has explained it to me, the following will happen. Using 3 baby food jars, she's going to do colored water transferring via paper towel. She's going to measure what moves quicker: regular tap water, salt water, sugar water, or vinegar water. :shock: Wow, go her!

So, we are doing the paper that needs to be turned in for the OK from the teacher, and it says changed variable....that would be the solutions that she adds to the water?

Measured variable would be the control (the regular tap water)?

So, I'm wondering....what is she going to measure....how long it takes to transfer a set amount of water? And then conclude which solution transfers the quickest?

It's been YEARS since I've had to think about a science fair, so any advice I can pass on to her would be outstanding.



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Re: Capillary action/water transferring

Postby khufker » Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:44 pm

It sounds like you are on the right track! The independent variable, or what you change, would be the solution. One of your choices for the independent variable should be a control condition, which would be tap water in your case (though it would be even better to use distilled water). The dependent variable is the variable that you measure. For this, I would measure time in some fashion. It could be the time to absorb a set amount or the time for the solution to travel a certain amount. Just make sure you measure the same thing in the same way for all conditions. Finally, you have your controlled variables, or things you keep the same for all conditions. These could include things like temperature, the amount of water, and they type of paper towel.
There is some more information on variables here http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_variables.shtml.
Also, you might want to look at the guide for a project using flowers to investigate capillary action http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/PlantBio_p033.shtml#procedure.
Just let me know if you have any more questions!

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Re: Capillary action/water transferring

Postby dpututor » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:14 am

I would suggest using different colored dye for each type of water you plan on using, as well as clearly stating which color you used for each. This can only help you stay organized in the future and help for clarification throughout the experiment!


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